Hubble finds ghostly object in deep space
In a galaxy far, far away: The Hubble Space Telescope has captured this image of Hanny's Voorwerp.
January 11th, 2011
10:04 AM ET

Hubble finds ghostly object in deep space

There's a green blob in space, but unlike a bad science fiction movie, it's not coming to take over Earth. Probably.

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a green cloud of gas about 650 million light-years from Earth. It's been named Hanny's Voorwerp, Dutch for Hanny's Object.

The object is illuminated by a beam of light from a quasar that may have gone dark 200,000 years ago, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

The Voorwerp is about the size of our Milky Way galaxy and is part of a 300,000-light-year-long stream of gas, the institute says. The green color is from glowing oxygen.

What appears to be a gaping hole in Hanny's Voorwerp actually may be a shadow cast by an object in the quasar's light path, according to the institute.

"This phenomenon is similar to a fly on a movie projector lens casting a shadow on a movie screen," the institute says.

The object may have been formed by a collision of two galaxies, according to the institute.

But don't worry. It won't bump into our galaxy within our lifetime.


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Filed under: Space
soundoff (469 Responses)
  1. Einstein

    God does not play dice.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Stop telling god what he can do.

      January 11, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • doodle man

      ya well there is nnoooooo god and if ther are other organisms i bet ur gunna feel like a DA

      January 12, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • MaryNancy

      Thank you Diane!

      January 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bobby

    lol im going to religous blogs and start posting scientific equations!

    January 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt the conspirator

    Really cool. It looks like an alien skull. Anyone else see it?

    January 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      It looks like a muppet from your worst nightmare

      January 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • doodle man


      January 12, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. signsxp

    it's amazing that the green color is from glowing oxygen. That is a lot of oxygen! imagine that! 300k light years of oxygen!

    January 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bob zimway

    God created inquisitive, science based minds.

    January 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      and created genital warts, and platypuses.. He's naughty!

      January 11, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ownedUnoob

    "beep" - "You must harvest more vespene gas"

    January 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobby

    lol good ol starcraft

    January 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ryan

    nuclear launch detected

    January 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fred Funballs

    The great gazu farts and you people make a big stink. . . . .geezus h crisco!

    January 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. omg

    a universe filled with hydrogen, helium, and the building blocks of all life created from supernova's....I find it interesting to find so much oxygen so far, far away...what created it? This is not a typical find by Hubble by any stretch. Fascinating! Any theories on what occured to create it?

    January 11, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryNancy

      My husband has the worst gas. It might have been him that created this green cloud. His gas could peel the paint off walls, dogs leave the room, cats lay their ears back, I mean it's rotten. Part sulfur, methane, swampy, brings tears to my eyes - I'm a nurse and I've gagged from his gas, and I have smelled some baaaad stuff. .

      January 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ty Wagner

    Am I the only one that thinks "glowing oxygen" is cool? This is a great find for science. I hope there are more and BETTER DISCOVERIES to come. Glowing gas and oxygen is getting a little... Old... Let's go to another planet and get some close up high resolution pictures. Impress me!

    January 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • carliet

      I totally agree i think that this glowing oxygen is so cool !

      January 12, 2011 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. yup

    Looks like a dragon over a well.

    January 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      There was supposed to be dragon here.. We put a deposit down and everything!

      January 11, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Diane

    Look's like your mama Junior

    January 11, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. stacie

    Did you guys hear about the other four planets found without a telescope?

    January 12, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Barry Comer

    I doubt if many remember "This phenomenon is similar to a fly on a movie projector lens casting a shadow on a movie screen,".

    Are there still movie projectors being used?

    January 12, 2011 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
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